This was the post I originally wanted to write for August ninth, but! I was very busy with book things and whatnot. If you follow me on Instagram you know all about the adventures I’ve been having with my book The Coffin-maker’s Basement, and I’ve had some very exciting things happening with it that I just posted on my Instagram account!
So, I thought I would post a kind of fun article, continuing with my off-roading from children’s literature and fairytales, haha. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to our usual programming shortly, I just gotta get myself back into the swing of things after how busy this month has been.
Without further ado!
How to Follow Your Dreams in Three Easy Steps
1. What do you believe in?
Do you believe in taking chances or doing what you know? Do you believe in being true to yourself or living up to others’ expectations of you? Do you believe you have the answers or that they can be found in others?
I, for one, don’t believe in backup plans. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge those who do have backup plans, but what I’m talking about is what I believe in for myself. For who I am as the person I know myself to be. And I know that by giving my all to my dream is how I show the universe I believe in it.
Discover what it is you believe in, what you truly believe in and hold onto it. Remember it if you can. If it changes it’s ok, but first thing’s first, you must believe in it and don’t alter it to fit someone else. What you believe in isn’t about anyone else, it’s about you. Remember that.
You might be asking yourself what my dream is, and you might be asking yourself what it is I’ve done to ask myself such questions as the ones listed above. Well, let me answer some of those questions.
My dream is to be an established writer. That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, I have personal goals and things like that, haha, but as for my *sparkles* true dream *sparkles* I would like to earn my living by being a fiction novelist. I’ll answer the “what it is I’ve done” question later.
2. Is what you’re doing now helpful?
You have your dream and you have what it is you believe in. Is what you’re doing true to those two things? Do you believe you have the answers but you continuously ask others for their opinion? Guide yourself to live true to what it is you believe in. Be gentle, this may be a constant adjustment. Think of yourself as a captain of a ship, adjust by minute degrees and you have a large change. But simply adjust, don’t change, don’t fix, adjust. And adjust in the direction of being helpful. Help your goals, your dreams. I like to think that in most occasions, living true to yourself helps others as well. After all, if you can take care of yourself, others don’t have to worry about you. They can see how happy you are by being true.
A little background on what I was doing before I decided to give my all to writing. I was an English major at UC Berkeley. I transferred there from my community college after not getting into my number one school, Pitzer. Berkeley wasn’t my second choice. There was Pitzer and then there was everyone else. I come from a family who hasn’t had a secondary education. My dad didn’t even finish high school, so my getting into Berkeley was celebrated even though I applied simply for the sake of applying. Don’t think me ungrateful, I am. My family has always been very supportive and Berkeley is a very prestigious school, I’m glad to have gotten in and I learned a lot in the short time I was there. Let me emphasize, the short time I was there. I wasn’t there for two years, I was there for one semester.
I’ll spare you the details, and tell you that I asked myself the above two questions. What do I believe in? I don’t believe in backup plans. Was going to Berkeley and getting a degree going to help me become an established writer? No. That was the conclusion I came to for myself. I don’t need a degree to write. I’d been writing (at that point in time) for twelve years, agents and publishers don’t care (and won’t ask) where it is I went to school as it has no affect on how good of a writer I am, and I wasn’t engaged in any of my classes so any indirect impact it would have had on me as a writer was null and void as I wasn’t getting anything out of them. Again, this is how I felt– my personal experience at Berkeley. Something else I don’t believe in? Wasting time. The moment I saw Berkeley was more of a hinderance than an asset to me and my goals, I told my parents I was leaving. They took it easier than the rest of my family (the details I won’t go into but I will say that some people hurt my feelings) but they still went through their own moments of processing. All of that changed, for everyone, when they heard about all the funny, “coincidental” things that started to happen after I left Berkeley. Like the publisher who asked for my manuscript.
What are your responsibilities? Children, spouse, parents, siblings, pets? If you have any responsibilities outside of yourself, they most certainly need to be taken into account. Do you have any debt, any financial responsibilities that need to be met each week, each month? If you have responsibilities to other people and/or other things weigh them. If you’re thinking about going back to school ask the people who you take care of how you could make that work. I suggest asking those people because you don’t want to pit your responsibilities and your dreams against each other, let those around you, help you. Find a path, don’t put everything on yourself. You’ve got one life, do your best to find balance in it if you can. I recognize there are those out there who have immense responsibilities, ones I can’t even think of, I’m sure, however, I do believe balance can be found if you talk to those around you. Be patient, be gentle.
My responsibilities were only to myself, so I was able to spend months writing with little-to-no risk. Mind you, I had finished CMB and started researching it that first semester, as well as attended a conference where I got to pitch an agent so by the time I left Berkeley I was off to a good start writing-wise. My time spent on the book after Cal was on researching and editing, rather than beginning the novel and doing everything else that followed. I also had plans to move to Oregon (which, come to find, I wasn’t a good match for) and I was given the opportunity to visit family in Turkey for two months before –low and behold– I moved back home. But it was because I didn’t have any outside responsibilities that I was able to do all of those things. I left Berkeley at the end of the fall semester, and officially moved (and stayed) back home in June of 2017. By August, I had a part time job answering phones at an office whose hours worked well with my writing schedule. I felt that all of these things came together because I was being true to myself, therefore things started to fall into place, but I know a certain amount of faith comes with that. If such a belief system doesn’t work for you, then I’m sure you have different opinions on the matter, haha.
I’m not saying following your dreams is easy. It can actually be quite complicated depending on the responsibilities you know you have, and the ones you feel you have. As I said, I come from a family who hasn’t had a secondary education, my getting into Berkeley was a big deal. Telling them I was going to leave, when I felt I owed it to them to get a higher education, was difficult. I’m fortunate enough to come from a family who supports me, even if they’re vocal about their fears, they warm up to the idea, but I had to put my responsibilities to myself before the ones I felt I owed to them. With these steps that I’d found myself thinking about while going through my experience, and have highlighted for you here, I like to think following your dreams has become easier. And if you’ve found the way, you see this path before you, well then the true hard part begins. Do you move, or do you stay? A phrase that continuously came to me was, “Humans were made to move.” What will you do?
Thank you all so much for reading! If you like what you read here, click the Follow button in the upper righthand corner; I post every other Thursday. If you’d like to know more about what happened with that publisher who asked for my manuscript or the agent I pitched while at Berkeley, follow me on Instagram (linked above)! All my writing endeavors are documented there. 🙂